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  2. This is a good point. I just went through that today at the dentists office. I handed the 13yo an extra copy of Beowulf, but the 11yo, I didn't think would be happy with a pad of paper and a pen or two because he is never given much chance to just draw. So he sat watching a zoo show on the provided TV. BLEHK. I did think to myself: I would have wanted to draw stuff on the scrap paper, but he probably won't - didn't even offer!???
  3. Send me the info, many counselors = success or more success anyway!
  4. I know that laziness is a part of it--it requires much less effort to plop kids down in front of a screen than to keep their attention with your own creativity and purpose. Also, perhaps, bad faith in children's own ability to find creative activities for themselves in the down times of life. I also think a lack of training for parents contributes--many parents today were children of television and video games in their own childhood, so it takes a lot of undoing or making up for lack of experience.
  5. Good luck! If you want some help planning, I can put you in touch with someone here who did a lot of the planning. I know our event was pretty intensive because they had a theme each year and had volunteers help decorate and set it up. Let me know!
  6. I love this. In beginning talks about starting a classical school in our area, we have discussed what it would look like to have high schoolers be part of teaching younger students. This is a great example!
  7. I love it! I think it is a fantastic way to model having a good time in groups in acceptable ways. AND with adults! This coming year I will be in charge of scheduling a field trip to attend a symphony and/or a visit to a fine arts museum. We also have to facilitate a "protocol" dinner in which skills of formality are exhibited through a fine dining experience. I was trying to figure out how we might turn it into a dinner and dance. Maybe if we ate from 5:30-7:30 and danced till 10pm. Thinking through this this summer.
  8. We ended up going to meeting once/week instead of twice. Everyone seemed happier. We extended our day till 3. Next year we are going to try to have a class or two that is for everyone. I will be offering an art and music appreciation class. Everyone can look at a painting or sculpture and listen to a piece of music and start to pick out the various instruments and note timing and dynamics. I will assign older students some research and rhetoric projects. Any other ideas for classes that could involve a wider range of ages for a co-op?
  9. Man! I wish there were an edit button... posting quickly between going from one activity to another, or late at night before bed, does not make for the most well constructed and errorless posts! And a post on grammar and comprehension no less!
  10. It's like we have forgotten how to train, teach, and expect our children to be entertained or bored without a screen (Or ourselves). I didn't have a screen in the 70's and 80's, and everywhere my mom took me took longer than today because no one had technology. Of course, sometimes things take longer these days because of technology not working as it ought. But why do parents, why do we, use technology to distract our children instead of letting them: look out the car window, sit in the waiting room or bring a book? Talk to them or with them? Train them to sit and be patient while they have to wait? Why are we so enamored? Is it a kind or degree of gluttony or lust?
  11. Notre Dame is burning! This was devastating news. I am sure it was more tragic in person. Why were so many around the world affected by the news? Why did it cause me to cry? In part it is because I was privileged enough to have visited the grand cathedral during a senior-high trip. It is not something the average person has an opportunity to do though. Part of my love for the Lady of Paris is her long history and the legends associated with the generations of workman who participated in her incarnation. One such account is of a craftsman who was carving artwork into the rafters. When someone skeptically inquired as to why he would waste his time whittling wonders no one would see, his humble response was, God will see. Most of the workers would not live to see her completion, but many generations have witnessed her glory. The intent of the institution of cathedral-building was to give man's best to God. To inspire those who would enter in, to look up in awe. To participate in something eternal in time. Height and harmony, human and Host meet in unity under the stone and within the heart. Notre Dame has withstood the wars in France, Europe, and Christendom. It wasn't an air raid or an arsonist that brought about its burning; it was simply serendipity. Some say it is a metaphor for the state of the Church in France, Europe, and Christendom. Some say it is a prophetic sign from God warning of our burning if we don't repent. But most everyone agrees, Christian or not, it is a beautiful, historical monument we ought to mourn if irrevocably lost. Notre Dame has withstood being simply French or Christian. It is Human. Why? How has it transcended? Why is this not simply sentimentalism? How is this building practical any more considering the soaring secularism of Europe? Notre Dame spans more than just a city block and it represents more than an iconic era. It has lasted more than 800 years, not only because of the materials or maintenance, but because of the meta-narrative it tells. The artistry, the technology, the faith and the history that commune in it surpass what it is made of or when. Algebra, Latin, and even English Grammar are like this. Teachers are perennially probed as to the practicality of such content areas: When are we ever going to use this? Students moan. Why does my child have to have this? Parents complain. Studying, contemplating, and practicing Algebra or diagramming a sentence is like building Notre Dame. We are one of the workers in the middle of the project. Those who came before us began the intricacies of mathematics and the codification of language, and we are being handed the chisel and the pencil and told to apprentice on this project before we go off into a chosen vocation. We can't see the end, we didn't see the beginning, but we are told to complete these menial tasks in order to be trained for other work. We feel as though doing this diagramming could not possibly help us or anyone else. What does an algebraic equation have to do with everyday life? Who cares whether we have diagrammed a sentence or translated a Latin exercise well in the "real" world? People write essays all the time without diagramming a single clause. When we engage in math and language we are, for a moment, carving artwork into the rafters of civilization, participating in the preservation and maintenance of mankind. We are working wonders for future generations we may or may not see. But If we look up we will see. Even when we don't see, God sees. And it is good.
  12. Last week
  13. This life we live: it isn’t easy! But you are not alone. ❤️
  14. I'm curious to know what other schools are using as an outline for teaching Bible and/or Bible truths at the first grade level.
  15. One of our homeschool families is moving to Idaho & 4 families went to the beach for our last time together. Yesterday it was cold, drizzly & dreary here in So. Cal & we were in jackets and blankets, but we laughed, talked, shared joys & trials, watched 15 kids run around, swim & play. Why I haven't I done this sooner?! Homeschooling, parenting, caring for elderly parents, marriage and just life, REQUIRES time out & refresh and renew. Months ago, I noticed I was losing my shine. I shrugged off thoughts of going away for a few days--my inner voice saying I was just being lazy & that I need to persevere. I re-read Ecc 7:8 "Finishing is better than starting" on my Bible app. Now, I see that my perfectionism is not serving me or my family. It is sabotaging joy. I love your list--make cookies, organize the garage or their bedrooms, make memories. Thank you for your post!
  16. Earlier
  17. Hi Patrick, I just got this book and look forward to reading it soon!
  18. Hello, This year I taught a 30-minute math class to our combined 9/10 class on our community day. I used Dave Ramsey's HS Edition and Whatever Happened to Penny Candy/The Bluestocking Guide as my main resources. We would like to continue with Econ as our focus, but also do not want homework from this class for the most part. I am looking for other great resources I can use for this age group. Thank you! Rebecca Holland Toledo Classical Homeschoolers
  19. Local attractions gives me ideas for looking into our local but off the beaten path attractions, thanks!
  20. On the topic of "job fair" days, we tried that out for the first time this year and it went very well. Parents from a wide variety of careers came in and talked with students, who signed up to attend sessions on different topics. We also have three high school dances each year, some less formal and some more so. JTB, I love the idea of having the seniors and kindergarteners hang out and pick strawberries together. I hadn't thought of having different grade levels combine trips. As I said, we don't have much going on in middle school or high school, but here's what we do right now: Every year our seniors go on a service trip, previously to Costa Rica, and now to San Diego. The juniors and seniors also visit university and seminary libraries to do thesis research--but for some strange reason, it doesn't feel like a "real" field trip to them 🙂 I take the 11th grade European History students to the North Carolina Museum of Art every year. We study a lot of art history in that class, and the museum is only 20 minutes away and has a great European art collection covering the Renaissance up through the Impressionist period. The students are able to recognize artists and styles of art from particular periods, and the museum allows schools to sign up for guided tours free of charge.
  21. I wanted to follow up on my previous post about Alan Jacobs' book The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis. I just finished it, and it was a stellar book, one very relevant for classical educators. The book follows the writings of C.S. Lewis, W.H. Auden, Jacques Maritain, T. S. Eliot, and Simone Weil through the second world war, focusing on their ideas about education. Jacobs considers why they would focus so much on education during wartime, drawing out the ways that they held out a version of Christian humanism (as opposed to secularism, technocracy, nationalism, or other ideologies in vogue at the time) that they believed could serve as a basis on which the world could rebuild itself once the war was over. Personally, one of the most helpful insights I got from the book concerned something that he didn't actually address directly. Dorothy Sayers, who travelled in some of the same circles as the authors Jacobs discusses, wrote her own manifesto on education, "The Lost Tools of Learning," right around this same time. I've often wanted to better understand the cultural context that prompted Sayers to write her essay, and it was apparently the same context that prompted these other authors to produce similar writings (Lewis, for instance, published The Abolition of Man in 1943). Furthermore, to understand why so many parents and educators became so drawn to Sayers and the classical education movement in the 1980s and 1990s, one might even draw a parallel between the 1940s--a time of crisis in which literal warfare prompted writings like Sayers'--and the late 20th century--a time of crisis in which America's "culture wars" prompted a reaction against mainstream culture and education (that's my own conclusion, not Jacobs', but I think it's an idea worth unpacking). As I said, this is a book I highly recommend, and it's a very enjoyable read. I'd love to hear thoughts on it from anyone else who reads it.
  22. We've come up with a fun way to provide interaction between our high school students and our elementary school students. Each year the high schoolers host "History Day," in which they prepare historical topics to teach the younger students about, based on what we've studied that year. We hold it in the gym, where kids get to go from group to group and do hands-on activities and engage in contests on topics related to our four history classes (classical, medieval, modern European, and American history). The kids always have a blast, and it's a great opportunity for the high schoolers to find out what it's like to be a teacher. Below is a short video we put together with some highlights from this year's History Day. It's a great activity and I highly recommend it! Have you tried anything like this at your school, either in history class or in other classes?
  23. Yes, you do have a full schedule! Could any of the academic classes be turned into semester-long classes, so that they only take up half a year? The Contemplation period sounds intriguing. How does it work? Do the students like it? We don't have any formal daily prayer or worship, but typically each class sings a hymn before lunch and each period opens with prayer (if not more throughout the day).
  24. I don't personally have many great ideas, but a couple of our teachers wrote this a little while ago: https://www.carychristianschool.org/summer-boredom-busters/ (sorry, some of the suggestions are local attractions)
  25. Oliver DeMille's A Thomas Jefferson Education was a great primer and inspiration for me. The more I learn about classical ideals the more I see in his methodology. He advocates for mentors not teachers, and those using classics not text books. He asserts that students educate themselves, a teacher/mentor can only teach, but they ought to "inspire not require" aspects of learning and help structure student's time not content. He has a different "ages and stages" structure of: Core stage - is for the very young and it's pre-loading habits and essential character/family skills that will assist the student for beginning learning. Love of Learning stage - children love to learn a little or a lot about everything, so give them a Charlotte Mason sort of opportunity to touch lots of things and go as deeply or as quickly as they desire. Then they begin to want to go deeper and spend more time on a few things, and they want to be challenged to hone their skills in the scholarly phase. They begin to really focus on scholarship, and finally they become "vocation" focused. Through each stage the mentor (or mentors) are resource provides and gentle directors of the student's need to continue on their educational journey. It is adult-intensive in the beginning because really the emphasis is to spark their fire. You read great books together or out loud and talk about them, YOU do math on a white board to tease them into interest, or have them involved in projects like budgeting and grocery shopping that show them math applications. it's a very interesting book without being long and difficult. But it is not a "curriculum". It is an approach, and sometimes a very vague one at that. But I still really appreciated it. Andrew Pudewa introduced me to it. https://www.amazon.com/Thomas-Jefferson-Education-Generation-Twenty-first/dp/096712462X/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1V2B89WFP1ZMJ&keywords=thomas+jefferson+education&qid=1557004575&s=gateway&sprefix=Thomas+Jefferson+ed%2Caps%2C155&sr=8-1
  26. Ashley, would you share what lower-school resources you would recommend? I have a 5-yr-old boy and I am not happy with what I used with older children.
  27. This is a great idea! I have six children still at home, but the oldest one has graduated. However, when I do read-alouds with the family, the youngest ones are the ones usually narrating back and we move on afterwards, so the older ones don't really get much time for deeper discussion. This might be something I can do with them once a week or maybe once a month since I'd be taking out three.
  28. Andrew Kern of the Circe Institute has a podcast called, Ask Andrew. He did two on assessment. One was on skills and one on ideas. One of the thoughts he shared was when we give a grade of "87" what do we even mean by it and what does the student perceive is meant? "You did pretty good!" "You didn't do good enough." "I studied so hard, and all I got was an 87." "I barely studied and I still got an 87." One of the things I've been frustrated with, as an old dog taking college classes, is the multiple choice quizzes. The way they are set up is to test if I've done the readings, not what I got out of them. So, if as a teacher there is something you want me to at least walk away with, THAT is what you include on the quiz - they are open book quizzes. That will force me to go and read that portion, or put together that idea with the question and the answer. But no, it will most likely be some obscure sentence I have to do a search for. What this tells me as a student is, "We don't trust you." You know what? Yes, sometimes I don't finish the readings. But if you give me a quiz that helps me at least glean the most important aspects, then we ALL win. I try to do better each time. I don't know that quizzes should be used as punishment or "Holy Spirit" conviction. The sort of question that ought to be on quizzes is one of comprehension - which as was stated can be hard to write, hard to perceive the "proper answer" and then hard to grade. But WORTH IT! For everyone! The best forms of assessment I have appreciated, even if they were hard, was discussion with the teacher, in which he or she could tell we've interacted with the text, even if we didn't comprehend it! Questions indicate interaction as well. Having to write on the readings. AFTER discussion, we were given a broad prompt and asked to write a short essay, or journal entries. Another one was after the one week's reading, the NEXT week we would have to submit questions on it and then answer each other's in a discussion. This forced me to "review" and think through the material. Tying a "unit" together. So units would be three weeks long. Again, forcing me to review, revising, and then create connections. In logic, at the end of the semester we had to find articles and put them in logical format. This was hard, but so worth it. We could really see how much we had learned. A form of assignment that has been helpful is having three ways in which I was exposed to the ideas of the content. In Bible class it was read the scripture, read a commentary, attend a lecture in which we had to take notes for turning in - this is a good form of accountability! This equipped me to complete the short essay answers for the midterm exams, which was NOT open book. In Economics it was read an overview of the topics, a summary, and then watch a quick video that touched on the ideas, and THEN read the materials. But this is the class that gave the horrible quizzes. It was also the class that had discussion, questions, and then essays. Assessments are powerful psychological tools. If used improperly or at the wrong age, or the wrong stage of learning, they can either increase a student's negative self-image, or they can unrealistically puff a child up with pride. The student that says, "I barely studied and I still got an 87" has been deceived into thinking he or she is smarted than they are, and won't have to work hard to "get by" in life. I was the kid. And it has been really hard for me to be a diligent worker in many areas. Education ought to have some struggle to it, but it has to be the kind that builds up, not tears down.
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